Caller's "brilliant" message for the British public stopped James O'Brien in his tracks

24 July 2020, 14:15 | Updated: 24 July 2020, 14:17

By Fiona Jones

This caller urged the British public to "shame" the Government's acceptance of Russian-linked donations in a powerful point about democracy.

Cabinet ministers Rishi Sunak, Alok Sharma and Robert Buckland are among 14 Conservative MPs who have accepted Russian-linked donations, it has been reported.

Caller Joel insisted "we should shame these Tory MPs" for the sake of democracy.

He observed, "For the British people we've only had what the ancient Athenians would recognise as something approaching their democracy for the last hundred years. And we had to fight for it just like they did against the Persians in the First and Second World Wars.

"I'd just like to say to the British people this is the kind of stuff we need to be very careful about because democracy hasn't been around for very long. It was lost for a long time after the fall of the Union Empire."

James agreed with his "brilliant" point, "We take so much for granted, don't we? That isn't actually permanent.

"Look at America: look how the basic standards fall apart."

Joel said every generation must fight for democracy: "When you hear this tired acceptance...of that's the way it is. That's what undermines British democracy.

"I think we really need to shame Tory MPs."

James questioned whether this was possible due to the factionalism in Britain created around Brexit: "People have fallen out with their own children to back Boris Johnson, so to turn around now and say it's absolutely disgusting that 14 ministers in his government have taken money from individuals and companies linked to these circumstances I'm not sure they can."

Joel recommended everyone watch the online Yale lectures on Athenian democracy and James chose to cite Joni Mitchell: "You don't know what you've got until it's gone."